tv [untitled] CSPAN June 25, 2009 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT
and afghanis carrying it out. our strategy is having -- meeting with success, yet the mcgovern amendment is already looking for an exit strategy. this amendment sends a terrible message about u.s. resolve to both friends and foes alike. we are not alone in this concern is precisely why the obama administration also opposes the mcgovern amendments stating that the mcgovern amendment, quote, would demonstrate a lack of commitment to the new strategy. it will signal to our afghan partners that the u.s. presence and efforts in the country are fleeting. and it demonstrates to al qaeda we are not intending to see this new strategy through, end quote. it could hamper u.s. strategy goals in the entire region. rather than focusing on an exit strategy, we should instead be focused on working with the obama administration to provide the necessary flexibility to craft policies that offer the
best chance of success while ensuring congressional consultation and congressional notification. the underlying bill provides this balance and that's why chairman skelton, ranking member mckeon, chairman berman, and i ask our colleagues to support u.s. efforts in afghanistan and oppose the mcgovern amendment. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i yield myself 15 seconds. mr. chairman, all we are trying to do is to fill in the holes of the strategy that president obama has already articulated. i think the american people would welcome that. i think the afghan people would welcome that. the notion that we are sending our men and women into harm's way without a clearly defined mission which includes a beginning, middle, and end to me is a mistake. mr. chairman, i'd like to yield a minute and a half to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones. the chair: a minute and a half. mr. jones: i thank the gentleman from massachusetts.
i respect everyone's position and everyone's right. but i would like to say that to die for a mystique is an article written by andrew who i quote add few minutes ago. subtitle, the lessons our leaders didn't learn from the vietnam war. . here we are extending an eight-year commitment of our troops in afghanistan. what's going to happen three or four years from now if we are in the same situation and then we're talking about a 12, 14, 16-year commitment? look at what the russians did. they spent 10 years and billions of dollars and thousands of russians killed. look at alexander the great. he tried to conquer afghanistan. he failed. look at what the british did, and they couldn't make it. so all we are saying is, we are not talking about a pullout.
we are saying have an end point to your war strategy that the marn people will understand and more -- american people will understand and more important, our military. they're tired. they're worn out. they'll keep going. they'll go back five, six, seven, eight times. but ask a military family down at camp lejeune. do you want to send your husband back or wife back for the sixth time to afghanistan? we are eight years behind the fight because we should have never gone inside iraq. let's not make the same mistake they made during the vietnam era. thank you, mr. mcgovern, for introducing this amendment. thank you on behalf of the american people and our troops. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, i yield now to the chairman of the armed services committee, the gentleman from missouri, chairman skelton, two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. skelton: mr. chairman, i respectfully disagree with this amendment, and i respectfully oppose it.
this amendment sends exactly the wrong message, focusing on an exit strategy which may well reinforce a perception among the afghans that we are not committed to protecting them from the taliban and al qaeda. mr. chairman, we have a new commander on the ground. we've added tens of thousands of jobs. we're adding hundreds of civilian experts. we should not undermine those efforts. commanders make a difference. as you know, we have general mcchrystal, who has replaced general mckernan in afghanistan. history shows that new commanders make a big difference. let's give general mcchrystal the opportunity to show what american troops and american civilians, state department and others can do. history shows that.
president lincoln replaced a general, general immediate and finally ended up -- general meade and finally ended up with a name by the name of grant. one was replaced by bernard montgomery in the great battle came to pass. let's give general mcchrystal the opportunity. further, let me add, mr. clarme, this amendment is intended -- mr. chairman, this amendment is intended to make the administration lay out its strategy. but we already have the administration to lay out their goals, their timelines and conduct regular assessments. that's the way that general mcchrystal should be judged. let's do that. i do oppose this amendment very respectfully. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired.
the chair will note that the gentleman from massachusetts has 1 3/4 remaining. and the gentleman from california has 3 twaurts minutes remaining. mr. mcgovern: i'll let the gentleman proceed. mr. mckeon: mr. speaker, i'm happy to yield at this time to a young man who joined the marine core the day after 9/11, served two tours in iraq and one in afghanistan, the gentleman from california, who is a member of the armed services committee now, one minute. mr. hunter. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. hunter: i thank the ranking member and i'd like to associate i myself with the chairman's remarks on this issue. i think i'm the only one on the floor here who's actually served in afghanistan. i served twice in iraq as a united states marine and i would have to respectfully oppose this amendment.
and the reason is this. the best exit strategy is to actually win. that's the best exit strategy. to go in there, win the fight, kill out al qaeda, kill taliban, have the state department work with the local afghan people, then we can leave after we have success over there. that's how we won in iraq. we won in iraq once we stopped worrying about losing. we had the surge, and now we're successful in iraq. that's what we need in afghanistan. the way that we're going to lose afghanistan is if we start focusing on how we're going to pull out successfully. well, we need to do is win, win hard and win strong and then we can all come home. i'd have to -- mr. mckeon: i yield the gentleman 30 seconds. mr. duncan: i thank the ranking member from california. i will yield back and respectfully oppose this amendment as a united states marine, as a united states
congressman and representing all of our men and women in uniform fighting for all of us. let's win and get the job done and then we can come home. thank you. the chair: the gentleman from california. mr. mckeon: mr. chairman, i yield myself the balance of the time. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. mckeon: thank you, mr. chairman. i think mr. hunter stated it very clearly. the exit strategy should be to win and then bring our forces home. it was stated earlier that general petraeus made a statement that afghanistan has been known over the years as a graveyard of empires. we cannot take that history lightly. that was part of the speech that he made. i'd like to say some other things that he mention approximated in that same speech. we have a hugely important interest in ensuring that afghanistan does not once again become a sanctuary for transnational terrorists. and to compliment and
capitalized on the increased military resources, more civilian assets, adequate financi resources, close civil military cooperation and comprehensive approach that encompasses regional states will be necessary. our objectives are of enormous importance. we all need to summon the will and the resources necessary to make the most of it. it was just a couple of years ago when we were having a similar debate when we were being told by some that we needed to get out of iraq, that we were losing, that there was no way we could win, and general petraeus was called to lead the surge. and now he's telling us how we can win in afghanistan. mr. chairman, i think now is not the time to be retreating. now is not the time when we're sending 20,000 troops that are ready to embark on this surge to win to help the people of afghanistan and preserve our national interests there.
now is the time to let the forces know that we support them, we support their mission, we want them to be successful and return home safely. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: mr. chairman, i yield myself the remaining time. mr. chairman, everyone acknowledges that there is no military solution in afghanistan, only a political solution. but we are putting billions of dollars into building up our military presence without a clear vision of how to bring our troops home, an exit strategy for lack of a better term. every military mission has a beginning, a middle, a time of transition and an end, but i have yet to see that vision articulated in any document, speech or briefing. we are not asking for an immediate withdrawal. we are not talking about cutting or running or restreeting, just a plan. if there is no military solution for afghanistan, then please, just tell us how we will know when our military contribution to the political solution has ended. requiring an outline for how
our military operations ought to proceed in afghanistan so that congress can effectively wave the level of investment, both human and financial, is called doing our job. something this body neglected to do throughout the past eight years. i welcome the reports, the time frames, the matrices included in h.r. 247. but we have failed to look at what the administration articulated for itself. i promised our constituents that i would never send our men and women into war without a clear vision and how to bring them home safely to their families and their loved ones.
on which the ayes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 4 printed in house report 111-182 offered by mr. mcgovern of massachusetts. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a vorded rote -- for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the yeas are 224, the nays are 190. the amendment is adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 9 printed in house report 111-1982 by the gentleman from arizona, mr. franks, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 9 printed in house report 111-182 offered by mr. franks arizona. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives.
the chair: on this vote the yeas are 171, nays 244. the amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 15 printed in -- printed in part b of house report 111-182 by the gentleman from missouri, mr. akin, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes
prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 15 printed in house report 111-182 offered by mr. akin of missouri. the chair: a recorded has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]